How the Toys Saved Christmas



Delightful animated Christmas story, but some bullying.
  • Review Date: November 19, 2012
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

This film is intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive messages

Celebrates the generosity of the holiday and how generous people can overcome greed. Also criticizes the materialism of the holiday while still appreciating the fun of gift-giving.

Positive role models

Christopher Winter stands up to the bullying thieves who try to force him to help them rob Granny Rose. When Granny Rose learns of Mr. Grimm's evil plans, she stops at nothing to insure that all the children in the village receive their presents on Christmas morning.

Violence & scariness

Some cartoonish violence. A toy dog bites a man. A statue comes to life and hits an antagonist on the head with his cane. Two young thieves behave like bullies towards young Christopher Winter; they try and force Christopher into helping them rob Granny Rose's house by shoving him through the window. They also push and shove Christopher.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A toy Native American chief smokes from a pipe.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that How the Toys Saved Christmas is a charming 1996 European animated movie with characters voiced by Mary Tyler Moore and Tony Randall. There is the occasional moment of cartoonish violence -- for instance, a statue comes to life and canes a man on the head, and a toy dog bites a man. Expect brief moments of bullying from the two young bumbling thieves who pick on the boy protagonist in the film and try to force him into a life of crime. But all in all, this story of Christmas toys who decide to deliver themselves is an enjoyable and sweet Christmas story that both parents and young kids will enjoy.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Each Christmas, Granny Rose (Mary Tyler Moore) helps Santa deliver the presents to the children of her village. When she is taken ill and bedridden, she asks Mr. Grimm (Tony Randall) to deliver the presents for her. Instead, he intends to sell them and make a lot of money. Overhearing Mr. Grimm's wicked plans, the toys decide to go around the village and deliver themselves. While Mr. Grimm tries to stop the toys, Granny Rose must figure out a way to stop Mr. Grimm, and insure that all the toys in the village are delivered to the good boys and girls, especially Christopher Winter, a boy who has come to believe that Christmas is only for rich kids.

Is it any good?


HOW THE TOYS SAVED CHRISTMAS is a delightful Christmas cartoon delivering timeless holiday themes of selfless giving and Christmas cheer overcoming greed. These messages are presented in an original manner, as toys attempt to deliver themselves. Whereas many Christmas movies and cartoons can feel heavy-handed or even cynical, this understated should-be classic finds its own unique place in holiday fare.

Both parents and children will enjoy this tale of holiday gift-giving.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how How the Toys Saved Christmas compares to other Christmas movies. Where does the story seem similar to other Christmas stories? Where is does it stand out as its own unique story?

  • How do Christopher Winters and Granny Rose stand up to the bullies they meet? Have you or a friend ever been bullied? How did you handle it?

  • What does the film say is the meaning of Christmas? What do you believe?

Movie details

DVD release date:December 9, 2003
Cast:Mary Tyler Moore, Neil Shee, Tony Randall
Director:Enzo D'Alo
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Holidays
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of How the Toys Saved Christmas was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byXmasParent December 9, 2012

Some awkward spots; cannot agree with CSM age recommendation

I would have passed if I had known how frequently the characters mention that there is no Santa. I cringed 3 or 4 times during this movie and cannot recommend for children 6 and under, despite what CSM says here.


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